Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Regular readers and viewers will know of my love with roast cauliflower. I ate it first on a food trend-spotting trip to Tel Aviv with M&S and it was the stand out dish in three days of stand out food. Now, I can’t believe I ever used to boil it. I mean, what was I thinking!? Anyhow, I once ate an entire roast cauliflower to myself and whilst I can’t claim to have been good company that night – due to some of the brassica’s well-documented side effects – it is now my go-to favourite vegetable. Luckily – unlike some fancier vegetables – you can buy it just about anywhere, so it is the ultimate solution to an empty cupboard and an uninspired mind. Of which I frequently have both. Now autumn is drawing nigh, I am less likely to put it in a salad with some walnuts and green leaves and more likely to put it in a macaroni cheese with ham, and fried leeks if I am minded.  I made this recipe using food from Costcutter’s Independent label. For many year’s Costcutter, who sponsored this post, was my local supermarket and I would scour its shelves for late night, after work inspiration. The Independent brand is also available at Kwiksave and Mace and, when I used it, seemed not only good quality but good value too. Costcutter partner with Lanchester wines who suggested drinking their Orario, Pinot Grigio Australian white, with this. It is only 11% alcohol which makes it the ideal mid-week drink at around a fiver a bottle it won’t break the bank either. Takes: 20m plus 30m...
Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

So, what are these little mouthfuls of deliciousness, you may ask. And, admittedly it is not immediately obvious from our typically random photo (we try!). But these are marshmallow rice crispy cakes. That’s right. Rice crispies modified with all the gooeyness of marshmallow, and little else. Unless you count the drizzle of plain chocolate which is added specifically to increase the anti-oxidants consumed by your children at parties. Because, as we all know, kids parties are all about eating healthily (ha!). We Why do we need to change a recipe that has served us so well, ever since our own childhood, you may ask? (That’s the second question you’ve asked in this blogpost so far, pipe down!) And the answer is; just because we can. The advantages to this recipe over the normal Golden Syrup scenario is that the marshmallow holds the rice crispies together really well so you can cut them into different shapes (essential). It also turns the cakes a pinky colour, which is always good. Plus there are large amounts of offcuts (the edges which you have cut from) which Claire shows you what to do with in the film we made about it here.  Plus it’s really easy. What more do you need?  Pimped up rice crispy cake Makes: 6-8 cakes Start to finish: 20 mins prep, 30 mins in fridge 45g butter 220g marshmallows 150g rice crispies 30g chocolate Line a 20x30cm tray bake tin. Put butter into a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. After a few seconds add the marshmallows. Gently heat the mix until the marshmallows have lost their shape and you are left...
Granola Muffins

Granola Muffins

So. It has started. The new regime. And tbh, I’m impressed with myself. We’re only on day two, but so far it has been a resounding success. What am I so heartily patting myself on the back for? Getting up at 7am. I know this is not big news for most people, but because of the slovenly nature of this set of the McDonalds (Lucy’s side is much more morning-loving) we generally don’t get up until 8ish, which is fine, as school is a hop away, and I can cycle to work before 9.30. But it does mean we don’t get much done before we go off to our respective places of work.  Then last week I heard on the radio that it was really good for children to have a long walk to school, or do exercise before school. I have two boys who find it hard to focus at school, and further researching showed it might help with this too. So here we are. Up at 7, in a mix of pjs and tracksuits, jogging to the park.  For people who know me well, this will be a revelation. Slothful, anti-exercise and queen of the sleep button, I feel these 7am rises are a sign of what I will sacrifice in the love of my children. For many other people it’s just a normal Monday morning.  The upside of this massive personality shift is that a) the kids seem to love it. b) we have more time in the mornings, and c) we get to eat more.  Yes, a bowl of hearty porridge isn’t enough after all this exercise....
Ultimate Picnic Pie

Ultimate Picnic Pie

Children lend themselves to picnics. Food is always more fun when eaten outside, particularly if there is a blanket and a picnic hamper. Whilst the birds pick up the crumbs for you.  And although some of our most memorable picnics have been those we have cobbled together (although can a pot of hummus and some PopChips  strictly be called a picnic?) there is a lot to be said for organisation. Having a rug, a bottle opener, some wine to open, some mustard and knives and forks all makes eating outdoors a little more special. Even better if there are some chairs to sit on, our knees are not what they were. One of my finest parenting moments was on holiday in Devon when I whipped out a picnic hamper containing a nutritionally balanced meal (by which I mean there was fruit and salad) and this picnic pie. I know smugness is an unattractive trait, but I did smile condescendingly at those families around me with pots of hummus and PopChips, knowing how little actually separated us. Obviously my superiority was short lived, but we must take what we can, when we can. Anyway picnic pie is easy to make, easy to transport and even my kids seem to like it. Check out our video of it here. It is very forgiving, meaning you can put in what you fancy. This one is quite meaty, but you could layer roast butternut squash, red peppers with ricotta and spinach if you so desired. The only rule is to make sure everything is as dry as possible. As Mary Berry taught us,...
Holly Bell’s roast chicken – win her book!

Holly Bell’s roast chicken – win her book!

 Loathe as a I am to gild the gorgeous lily of roast chicken, sometimes a recipe tempts me. It’s rare I want to tamper with the crispy skin of a just-roasted bird, or the succulent breast. But sometimes I can’t help myself. And when I was flicking through my new favourite recipe book by Recipes from a normal mum, this caught my eye. Roast chicken stuffed with olive tapenade. Two of my favourite things in the world, together. How could I resist? I couldn’t. So I made it. And yum. We devoured it. The kids loved it. I served the leftover tapenade on the side, which I now regret as it all got eaten, and it would have tasted so good on my Monday lunch sandwiches. This is not the only recipe I’ve made from the book. In fact the book is looking reassuringly full of food stains and turned over pages – always a good sign. I’ve made Stew’s delicious keema matar, which sounds so exotic, but was really very easy. And I’ve just spotted a cake recipe which calls for Malibu. I just happen to have a little bit of Malibu on hand (have you tried it recently? It really is disturbingly nice) and this could well end up being it’s final destination (as it will stop me drinking it neat).  In fact, my ‘to make’ list gets longer and longer the more I flick through the book. It’s full of brilliant midweek suppers, quick kiddy teas as well as more lavish fare. And of course, there is baking. Because for those of you who don’t know Holly...
Sprouted hummus

Sprouted hummus

  sprouted hummus I don’t mean to make life more difficult. I mean, what’s wrong with shop bought hummus, anyway? Why do you need to make your own and sprout the damn chickpeas too? Well, don’t worry. You don’t. And if I’m entirely honest, the chances are your kids won’t eat this sprouted stuff anyway. It tastes too . . . healthy. But there are some good reasons to give this recipe a go. It’s very easy to make, once you’ve sprouted the chickpeas – just bung some ingredients in a bowl and whizz.  And there is something magical about sprouting – so easy, just rinse and keep the peas in a colander, then let your kids see the miracle of nature at work. The peas split and develop little tails, like tadpoles. Take a look at how easy it is in this little video we made. Plus, according to wikipedia (which has based it’s report on some good science, as far as I can tell, verified in PubMed) sprouting is very good for you, and helps your body absorb nutrients more easily than unsprouted legumes.  Plus, if you’re an adult, it tastes good! Perfect for a work packed lunch, or as an alternative to shop-bought on a summer’s picnic. Go on, give it a go! Sprouted raw hummus (Make Your Own) Serves: 4 Start to finish: 10 minutes once the chickpeas have been sprouted. 200g sprouted chickpeas (from dried chickpeas) 1 tbsp tahini Juice and zest of one lemon 1.5 cloves of garlic 2 tbsp virgin olive oil salt half tsp cumin 2 tbsp water Smoked paprika to garnish How...